Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Jack gives Cesc a Pep talk - Cahill out of reach?

Morning Gooners.

It's 52 days since the Arsenal played there last competitive fixtures. And this lunchtime Arsene Wenger's men are back in action against a Malaysia XI. With kick off being at 1.45pm UK time, I'd imagine that a lot of late lunch breaks will be taken so as much of the match can be taken in.

These games, this early in pre-season, are all about gaining fitness and match sharpness. There is nothing important in the score, although successfully defending a few set pieces would be a win for me. I'm personally looking  forward to seeing how the side gel without Cesc Fabregas. Who will play in his role. Whether we will continue with the 4-2-3-1 or switch formation. I'm not sure we'll get all the answers today about what lies ahead, but we'll certainly get a few of them.

I was really impressed to read that 30,000 fans turned up to watch the players in an open training session in Malaysia yesterday. That figure is astonishing. It goes to show how right the club is to be on this pre-season tour and yet again goes to show how the Arsenal brand has spread across the world.

At an event at a Nike store another 3,000 people turned out to meet Jack Wilshere, Alex Song, Wojciech Szcesney and Theo Walcott. It was here answering questions that Jack got to have his say on the futures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

He said:
"Loyalty is a big part of football and it shows if you are a real man or not.
"We have loyalty at Arsenal – players have shown that in the past. Cesc showed that last year and hopefully a few more players can show it this year. Then we will see if we can get a trophy or not." 
Personally I find it refreshing to hear Wilshere speak in this way. He could have ducked the issue but it's clear how much he and the squad, especially after Robin van Persie's comments yesterday, want Cesc and Samir to stay.

It's also what we all want to hear and to happen. I know that some fans get annoyed with constantly reading about Cesc going to Barcelona but that's the problem having world class players at your club. Other clubs will want them because they know how good they are and after Barcelona used every trick in the book to get Cesc last summer, it's a relief they've toned their overtures down this summer.

Although it is still clear Pep Guardiola wants to sign our captain, with all the Barca players in the same world cup squad as our captain last year, it's good that they're not in his ear all the time chipping away this summer.

Barcelona are reported to be making a bid for our captain of around £35m today according to the Daily Mirror but I believe they will get the same answer they've had the previous two times they've made a bid for him... no.

I'm glad that Ivan Gazidis has stuck to his guns on this. Although I'm pretty sure should they meet our valuation for the player he'll be sold. But it's good to see that despite their relentless campaign we're still holding strong.

Gunnerblog has similar thoughts to me on the Cesc and Nasri issue and I believe we'd be better off holding on to our captain and making some money on the Frenchman this summer than lose him for free. I think despite what the manager said yesterday, unless Nasri signs a new deal before the window closes there is still chance he could be sold. We can't afford to lose him for nothing next summer.

Arsene Wenger has been talking about Manchester City's £400 million deal for shirt sponsorship and naming rights of their stadium. This is a real test for UEFA if they think financial fair play is going to work.

Elsewhere, it appears Hamburg have joined the race to sign Nicklas Bendtner, according to The Sun.

Whilst the Daily Mirror say we could lose out on signing Gary Cahill as Chelsea are now looking for an English central defender and the Bolton man could be one of their top targets.

Real football returns and I can't wait. See you on the other side!

Follow Ashburton Grove on Twitter, chatting Arsenal throughout the day. To receive the blog everyday you can subscribe via e-mail or take the RSS feed to your favourite reader.

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